Google has given a bunch of its apps the Material Design treatment. Thus far, YouTube isn't one of them, even if you're running Android 5.0. But a few users have noticed a UI change that nudges things in that direction. They've fired up the app and slid out the sidebar, only to see that it's now white. With their avatar in the top left atop a colorful background, YouTube is starting to look ever-so-slightly more like what Lollipop users would expect.
The latest trend in Android user interface modifications is the gesture-based meta-launcher, a way of quickly launching and switching between huge numbers of apps. My personal favorite is still SwipePad, but the current fashion is for Holo-style, scrollable sidebars. Appsi is the latest among these, but differentiates itself with a ton of customization and plugins.
First of all, the setup process is a lot simpler than similar apps, allowing the user to easily move the activation areas with a more graphical UI, instead of adjusting numbers or sliders.
What exactly is the deal with slide-out sidebar navigation? Is it a standard Holo thing? Is it not? 3rd-party developers aren't really sure what to do with it, and even Google-made apps are all over the place. Some apps have sidebar navigation, some don't. The ones that do have it all function a little differently and none of the implementations were actually any good - until now.
While Android continues to get better about making its UI look gorgeous, there are still plenty of trends that have yet to be standardized in any meaningful way. Of course, part of that may be because they don't need to be. After all, Google doesn't want every app in the world to use the Google Now-style card view (though, so far, Google+, Search, and Currents are already among those that find inspiration from them).
To call Rdio's latest beta a complete overhaul might be a bit of a misnomer. The feature set is largely the same, even if the design has gotten a facelift. However, seeing as the music streaming wars are heating up, it seems like a perfect time to take a second look at the service that always seems to play second fiddle to the behemoth that is Spotify.
Update: This version of the app is now live.
When it comes to streaming subscription services, Spotify has stolen the spotlight in the US, where companies like Rdio have struggled to get the attention and acclaim they used to enjoy back before the Swedish invasion. With Xbox Music looming on the horizon, promising to install 30 million free, ad-supported tracks into every computer running Windows 8, the market has never been more competitive. Which makes Rdio's newly announced overhaul to its Android app all the more timely.